From time to time, journalists like Andy Revkin and Keith Kloor protest that the mainstream media doesn’t do an awful job covering the issue of climate change. They believe that the well-documented, systematic bias of undermining scientific conclusions by “balancing” them with contrarianism is behind us. Unfortunately, this is demonstrably false.
The above image is from the self-proclaimed “Most Trusted Name in News” CNN’s coverage of NOAA’s just-released 2009 State of the Climate Report, copy from The Financial Times. The State of the Climate report details how the planet is warming as captured by 11 different indices, from land surface temperature to glacial mass balance.
In the Financial Times article republished by CNN, equal if not more time is devoted to discussing the manufactured scandal over the stolen CRU emails and getting reactions from cranks like Steve Goddard and industry shills like Pat Michaels and Myron Ebell vs. covering the actual contents of the report itself.
The release of this report represented a huge opportunity for CNN and The Financial Times to explore the signs of a warming world in detail- perhaps to discuss with credible experts the causes and expected effects, to explain why specific humidity would be expected to increase in a warming world, or why Antarctic sea ice is not a representative indicator of enhanced greenhouse warming while Arctic sea ice is, etc. And who knows- perhaps they eventually will. For now, however, “most trusted name in news” is continuing to grossly mislead its audience because it simply can’t give up the outmoded narrative crutch of “balance”.
Posted in Climate change, Climate change denial, media failure
Tagged #CNNFAIL, balance as bias, Cato Institute, CEI, climategate, CNN, Competitive Enterprise Institute, Financial Times, journalism, Maxwell Boykoff, Met Office, Myron Ebell, NOAA, Pat Michaels, State of the Climate, State of the Climate 2009, Steve Goddard
Read the whole thing, but the conclusion says it all:
The message from scientists at this point couldn’t be clearer: the world’s emissions trajectory is extremely dangerous. Goofball weathermen, Climategate, conspiracy theories—these are all a distraction from what’s really happening. Which, apparently, is what we’re looking for.
I don’t agree with everything in the piece (I’d say that cool weather in the US, but mainly the increased partisanship reflected in *all* polls and the economic concern still widespread in the US are probably more responsible than SwiftHack/climategate for the droopy poll numbers), but she certainly knows how to cut through the BS, doesn’t she?
H/t Phil Plaitt, whose post is worth a read itself.
Posted in Climate change denial, climate legislation, politics
Tagged Bad Astronomy, climategate, Elizabeth Kolbert, Joe Bastardi, New Yorker, Phil Plaitt, polling, SwiftHack, Up in the Air
Exoneration can only mean that the investigation was illegitimate. After all, in the eyes of denialists, the only legitimate reviews, investigations, etc. are the ones that reach the conclusions they want.
But then, you already knew that.
[UPDATE: See BigCityLib Strikes Back; DeSmogBlog; Hot Topic; James Annan; Rabbet Run; RealClimate; Stoat for more.]
Posted in Climate change denial, politics
Tagged Bob Spink, Brian Iddon, climategate, Climatic Research Unit, CRU, Desmond Turner, Doug Naysmith, Evan Harris, Gordon Marsden, Graham Stringer, House of Commons, Ian Cawsey, Ian Stewart, Members of Parliament, Nadine Dorries, Phil Jones, Phil Willis, Rob Wilson, Roberta Blackman-Woods, Science and Technology Committee, Swiftboat attack, Tim Boswell, University of East Anglia
It’s odd how some (sticky? viral?) memes propagate through the denialosphere. The classic example is how “hockey stick” lost all of its original context, and soon there was very little that was not a “hockey stick” according to the denialosphere: from the temperature projections in the AR4 to pre-industrial vs. current CO2 levels. And through an apparent belief in sympathetic magic, all it took was the labeling of something as a “hockey stick” in order to discredit it in the eyes of a certain audience.
The SwiftHack “scandal” is proving to be no different. “Hide the decline” has metamorphosed from the truncation of certain dendro proxy data post-”divergence” into a fraudulent artificial inflation of, by turns:
- the global surface temperature record
- the US surface temperature record (occasionally with unrelated graphics of real NCDC adjustments)
- GCM projections of future warming
And so on. They’re not really sure what it means, but they’re sure that it’s undeniable evidence of fraud and the global Gore-Commie conspiracy. It’s humorous to watch this spring up repeatedly in comment sections of forums and the like, as the reality-based community seems to be all over it. You can still see it popping up, but its “juice” has been diminished incredibly.
The latest (I’m sure as I write this something new is coming down the pike) meme concerns two nearly identical snippets of code in “briffa_sep98_d.pro” and “briffa_sep98_e.pro”, e.g. at RealClimate here and here, and addressed at Deltoid here. The code comments talked about “arifical” [sic] adjustments and “fudge factors”, and as such it is being taken as undeniable proof of Something Nefarious.
The code in question appears to “test the sensitivity of certain calculations to the presence or absence” of the post 1960 divergence problem in Briffa’s MXD archive. It does not appear to have been used in any published paper, figure, or data set. [Denialists can feel free to set me straight on that- you've got a fixed range in which the publication had to occur, the name of at least one coauthor, the archive it supposedly en-fraud-ulates, and a pretty good idea about what this adjustment will look like] In spite of this, if you’ll find claims that this bit of code is in fact:
- “Mike’s Nature trick”
- Phil Jones’s use of “Mike’s Nature trick”
- fabricated warming in the global surface temperature record
- fabricated warming in the US surface temperature record
- fabricated warming inserted into the projections of GCMs
And so on.
I’m guessing that we can expect to this sort of thing repeated over and over and over again for weeks if not months to come. A line in an email, some snippets of code, etc. will be trotted out (completely excised of content) with no grasp of what it actually means as the newest Proof That Definitely Shows Global Warming Is Fake And We’re Serious This Time. The supporting evidence will be non-existent, the explanations of what the “proof” does will be incoherent and self-contradictory, but the confidence with which it will be paraded around will be unshakable. It will be the final nail in the coffin of radiative transfer the hippie scam.
Until the next one.
Posted in Climate change denial, Paleoclimate
Tagged climategate, Deltoid, hockey stick, Keith Briffa, Michael Mann, Mike's Nature trick, nontroversy, Phil Jones, RealClimate, SwiftHack